Cinderella arrived early at the NCAA Tournament, with No. 14 Ohio knocking off No. 3 Georgetown and No. 13 Murray State shocking No. 4 Vanderbilt. Lower seeds won an incredible 7 of the 16 games and five double-digit seeds pulled off upsets. Thereâ€™s another 16 games scheduled for Friday including the debuts of Duke and Kansas. The highlights (all times Eastern). See SI.com's full coverage of the tournament.
Cornell at Temple (12:30 pm, CBS) Itâ€™s one of the more delicious opening-round matchups because plenty of people â€“ including the President of the United States - have picked the lower-seeded Ivy League champs to advance. The interesting subplot involves the coaches: Cornell coach Steve Donahue spent 10 years under Temple coach Fran Dunphy when both were coaching at Penn. The Big Red is the deadliest three-point shooting team (.434 percent) and senior Ryan Wittman has made an Ivy League-record 368 of them during his career. Temple is third in the nation in 3-point defense (.28.1 percent) and scoring defense at 56.1 per game.
Gonzaga vs. Florida State (7:10 PM, CBS) SIâ€™s Luke Winn scouts the matchup: â€śGonzaga is more dangerous than your average No. 8, and are only in that position because they sleepwalked though a West Coast Conference title game loss to St. Mary's. The team they're paired with, Florida State, is no slouch, either: The 'Noles rank No. 1 in the nation in defensive efficiency, using 7-1 center Solomon Alabi to shut down all action in the paint. The game will hinge on whether Zags guards Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray (and to a lesser degree, small forward Elias Harris) can knock down threes.â€ť
Vermont vs. Syracuse (9:30 PM, CBS) Itâ€™s Winn again with the breakdown: â€śTwo weeks ago, the Orange were ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, and widely viewed as a lock to make the Final Four. They had a phenomenal regular season, winning the Big East title outright and finishing 11-1 on road and neutral courts. Junior swingman Wes Johnson was named the Big East's Player of the Year after averaging 16.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. But two season-ending losses (at Louisville and to Georgetown in the league tournament) and one big injury (to power forward Arinze Onuaku's right quadriceps) have given Syracuse an air of vulnerability heading into the dance. One could interpret the Orange's first-round pairing with No. 16 Vermont - the team that stunned them as a 13 seed in 2005 - as an ominous sign, too: No one expects them to lose to the Catamounts, but the mere matchup conjures up images of the 'Cuse's dreams being dashed.â€ť
BY THE NUMBERS
$2.5 billion - Estimated amount wagered illegally on the NCAA tournament, according to the FBI.
$1.8 billion - Estimated loss of productivity in the American workforce because of the NCAA Tournament, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based employment firm.
58 million - Americans, or 45 percent of the workforce, who will participate in a tournament office pool, according to a recent MSN survey.
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